By Rebecca Lewis @RebeccaSLewis

LONDON'S super-rich ex-pat Russian community turned out in force to crown the winner of Miss USSR UK

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Videographer / Director: Jack Stevens
Producer: Rebecca Lewis, Chloe Browne
Editor: Sonia Estal

Backstage nerves: Contestants anxiously wait for their turn on stage

Eighteen stunning girls from the former Soviet Union strutted down the catwalk in obligatory swimsuits and gowns by designer Elizabeth Emanuel - the designer behind Princess Diana’s wedding dress.

Belle of the ball: Karolina from Lithuania struts down the runway in her national costume
My turn! A contestant walks down the runway in her national dress

But instead of the renowned restraint the former Eastern bloc employed, bottles of Moet and Grey Goose vodka flowed and the audience were bedecked with designer clothes and glittering jewels.

There were 18 contestants in the running for Miss USSR UK...
But only one could be crowned the winner

The ceremony was compered by a dazzling Lizzy Cundy in a slinky red dress and Julian Bennett, while stars of the reality TV show Meet the Russians made champagne toasts while watching the competition.

Strike a pose: Oleksandra, Ukraine, Anna, Russia, and Victoria from Russia.

Among the genetically blessed contestants was a student from the London School of Economics, a young mother and even an Olympian – who had appeared in a music video with One Direction’s Harry Styles.

Breathe in! Last minute adjustments are made to the costumes

But the glistening tiara was given to Anastasia Gavris, a 22-year-old from Lithuania.

She said: “I don’t think the competition is only about beauty, it’s about passion and about how beautiful you are on the inside.”

There were three rounds - national costume, designer, swimsuit and couture

Contestants from Russia, Moldova, Ukraine and Estonia made it to the finals.

Backstage the contestants sought courage from rum and wine as they curled their hair and powdered their face to perfection.

The finalist pose with jury member Aleksandr A Revva

Among the glitz and glamour were grueling schedules for the girls, who were required to stick to punishing working regimes and eat healthily.

Anna from Russia waits backstage
Host Lizzie Cundy walks off the stage

Marija Sergeejva, 22 from Estonia, was one contestant looking forward to indulging after the competition.

The former Olympian skater represented her native country in 2010.

The girls pose backstage before the fashion heat

It wasn’t her last brush with fame as a chance meeting with heartthrob Harry Styles led to an appearance in the band’s music video – but she insisted their relationship with strictly professional.

The girls wait to compete in the swimsuit round - a must in beauty pageants

Anna Tkacheva, a 25-year-old Russian who works in marketing, said: “Russian girls are really beautiful, they really take care of themselves.

Winner of the Miss USSR UK finals was Anastasia Gavria from Estonia
The beauty won a handful of prizes - and a crown

“Nowadays a lot of Russians are buying beautiful houses trying to be glamorous, enjoying luxury cars but it’s a normal thing. In the Soviet Union a lot of people didn’t have it.

“We had really limited opportunities to have cars, beautiful houses and nowadays people just deserve it because they earn money.”